The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new guidance for summer camps on Friday, loosening requirements on masks and social distancing.
Camps may return to full capacity without mask and physical distancing requirements if everyone is fully vaccinated before the start of the camp, unless federal, state, or local required otherwise, according to the new guidance.
“It’s going to be a camp experience that is much more like (before the pandemic),” said Erin Sauber-Schatz, who leads the CDC task force that prepares recommendations for Americans against COVID-19, the disease the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
For staff and children who are not fully vaccinated, they should keep a distance between 3 to 6 feet and wear masks indoors or outdoors, the CDC guidance states.
The guidance also encouraged cohorting—dividing children and staff into small groups that remain together as much as possible during the summer camp.
When asked how to sort out who is vaccinated and who is not, Sauber-Schatz said those decisions would have to be made locally.
The new guidance comes after the CDC’s recommendation for fully vaccinated people released on May 13, which states that fully vaccinated Americans can stop wearing masks outdoors and in most indoor settings.
The new guidance strongly encourages children to get COVID-19 vaccines, saying the vaccines are safe and effective and “vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy.”
The Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children aged between 12 to 15 on May 10, saying the vaccine is safe and offers strong protection for younger teens.
According to the CDC, over 98,600 children between the ages of 12 and 15 have been fully vaccinated as of May 28. About 2.66 million of the same age group have gotten at least one jab.
Last week, a group of doctors and parents sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its secretary, Xavier Becerra, in a federal court, seeking to block the expansion of the emergency use authorization to children under 16.
They claimed the COVID-19 “simply does not threaten” kids, and they have “never seen this level of side effect” of this vaccine before.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.